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Volume 12, issue 1 | Copyright

Special issue: Oceanographic processes on the continental shelf: observations...

Ocean Sci., 12, 137-151, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-12-137-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Jan 2016

Research article | 18 Jan 2016

Temporal evolution of the momentum balance terms and frictional adjustment observed over the inner shelf during a storm

M. Grifoll1,2, A. L. Aretxabaleta3, J. L. Pelegrí4, and M. Espino1,2 M. Grifoll et al.
  • 1Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2International Centre of Coastal Resources Research, Barcelona, Spain
  • 3US Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA, USA
  • 4Departament d'Oceanografia Física i Tecnològica, Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. We investigate the rapidly changing equilibrium between the momentum sources and sinks during the passage of a single two-peak storm over the Catalan inner shelf (NW Mediterranean Sea). Velocity measurements at 24m water depth are taken as representative of the inner shelf, and the cross-shelf variability is explored with measurements at 50m water depth. During both wind pulses, the flow accelerated at 24m until shortly after the wind maxima, when the bottom stress was able to compensate for the wind stress. Concurrently, the sea level also responded, with the pressure-gradient force opposing the wind stress. Before, during and after the second wind pulse, there were velocity fluctuations with both super- and sub-inertial periods likely associated with transient coastal waves. Throughout the storm, the Coriolis force and wave radiation stresses were relatively unimportant in the along-shelf momentum balance. The frictional adjustment timescale was around 10h, consistent with the e-folding time obtained from bottom drag parameterizations. The momentum evolution at 50m showed a larger influence of the Coriolis force at the expense of a decreased frictional relevance, typical in the transition from the inner to the mid-shelf.

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We investigate the rapidly changing equilibrium between the momentum sources and sinks during the passage of a single two-peak storm over the Catalan inner shelf (NW Mediterranean Sea). At 24m water depth, a primary momentum balance between acceleration, pressure gradient and frictional forces (surface and bottom) is established. The frictional adjustment timescale was around 10h, consistent with the e-folding time obtained from bottom drag parameterizations.
We investigate the rapidly changing equilibrium between the momentum sources and sinks during...
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